More often than not, the people I meet ask me this question: how do I know what my dosha is and what I need to do to regain balance? By searching the internet, it is easy to find all kinds of Ayurvedic quizzes that will give you a certain proportion of these 3 doshas. But while answering the questions, you might feel like it depends on the situation or that you could be all 3 doshas. And if you repeat the questionnaire a week later, you might get a different result. This is completely normal.
In this article, I am going to demystify these Ayurvedic quizzes, explain how these answers work and above all, show you how you could simply act to correct what is bothering you the most.
Here are some key notions to understand:
#1: You are made of the 3 doshas
Very often, people will identify with a dosha because one of three doshas stood out after filling out a questionnaire.
It is however important to know that you are made of the 3 doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha), no matter what happens. Doshas are moods (or a psycho-physiological portrait) and each one plays very specific roles for the “human machine” to function. Therefore, it’s impossible to label yourself as one dosha only. For the body to do everything it needs to, the 3 doshas are necessary.
#2: You have a fixed constitution that will never change
You were born with a certain proportion of these 3 doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha), which defines you in a completely unique way. This is called Prakruti and it never changes. When in this state, you function at your best. This condition is often harder to find because over time, it has been “covered” with a lot of imbalances due to lifestyle, environment and food. To go back to this basic condition, you will most probably need professional help. Don’t forget that your imbalances don’t define who you are; they are only symptomatic of your current state.
#3: Imbalances change all the time
In parallel, the environment influences doshas and those are the ones usually revealed by a questionnaire. We call this your vikruti. It is constantly changing and can vary from one moment to the next. When we make lifestyle and diet changes, we mostly act on vikruti in order to return ideally to our basic constitution (prakruti).
#4: How to understand your imbalances?
Again, there is a good chance that you have 2 predominant doshas and you are probably wondering on which one you should act first. What I like to do in these cases is to find the sources of the imbalance. Let me explain.
- • First make sure that when you answer the questions, you are talking about what is going on right now and not in general. What matters most is the current imbalance because this is what we want to resolve.
- • Then, once you know which dosha is the most out of balance, you want to figure out if it is related to digestion or to the mind. In Ayurveda, most problems start with digestion. In other words, when in doubt, start by asking yourself what kind of digestion you have and act on it first.
#5: Four types of digestion
1- Irregular digestion
It means that your digestive system is unpredictable. Sometimes your digestion is good and you feel well after a meal and other times, you don’t, for no apparent reason. You may experience bloating and have gas. You tend to be constipated or alternate between normal and dry stools. You never know what’s going to happen next!
If this is the case, follow a vata-pacifying diet: simple dishes with few ingredients, warm and well cooked meals. Favor root vegetables (sweet potatoes, squash), rice, wheat, soups, and small legumes (mung bean, brown, green and coral lentils) and healthy fats (ghee, olive oil, avocado…). Stay away from raw, cold and dry foods like salads, smoothies, popcorn and crackers, and big beans: black, red bean and chickpeas.
2- Strong digestion
You digest a bit too quickly. You get very hungry only two hours after your previous meal. You go to the bathroom at least once a day if not more. You may experience loose stools or diarrhea and suffer from acid reflux.
If this sounds like you, follow a pitta-pacifying diet: Stay away from spicy, salty, sour and fried foods. Favor cooling, hydrating foods: leafy greens, sweet fruits, cleansing herbs (coriander, parsley or mint), coconut milk and cucumbers.
3- Slow digestion
On the contrary, your digestion might be too slow. Your stomach feels heavy after a meal and you are stuffed for the next six hours or longer. You have a low appetite. Your stools tend to be sticky.
In this case, follow a kapha-pacifying diet: steamed non-starchy vegetables like leafy greens with olive oil and spices like black or cayenne pepper, ginger, salt. Favor light grains like millet, rye and brown rice. Avoid dairy, sugar, starches, fried foods and excess protein.
4- Balanced digestion
If you experience none of these issues, your digestion is good. Lucky you! You feel good after a meal and have no reflux, gas or bloating. You have one or two bowel movements every day without loose stools or constipation. It’s good news since imbalances often manifest through the digestive system.
Once you have stabilized your digestion, then you can act on the other spheres: mental or emotional. Depending on the imbalance found and the related dosha, you may want to modify your lifestyle and sleeping habits.
If you are not sure how to balance your Ayurvedic profile, start with your digestion. Identify your digestive issues and adopt the appropriate diet to regulate your digestion. Then, you can modify your lifestyle (including activities, hours of sleep, massage, etc.) depending on the emotional or mental imbalances you might have.
Do not hesitate to contact me for more details and to understand a little better the interactions of these doshas.
Eléonore is an Ayurvedic counselor. She offers private consultations in lifestyle and diet, Ayurvedic massages and workshops. She is also a thai massage therapist since 2009 which she teaches for Lotus Palm. Besides, she has been teaching yoga for the last 10 years.
Her passion for knowledge of the human body and a better art of living brings her always further in self-knowledge and of others. She will listen to you with kindness and will guide you in a profound way to help you change your quality of life.